Comparisons of Structure in Animals. the Hand and the Arm

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Theclassics Us, 2013 - 36 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1799 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER IV. ON THE EQUIVALENTS OF THE HAND AS AN ORGAN OF TOUCH. What we have already said respecting the human hand as an organ of touch, distinguished from what we term feeling, or a sensibility to agreeable or painful sensations, we shall not here repeat. We may, however, observe, that as this sense is not needed in great perfection by the lower orders, seeing that man only reasons, compares, and appreciates, so we must not expect to find it of extraordinary delicacy in whatever organ it may be seated among them, and in some it may be almost said to be absent. In the monkey and ape tribes, which approach the nearest to man in their general conformation--the interval, however, being very great--the sense of touch undoubtedly resides in the hands. We see these animals try the hardness of the shell of a nut by squeezing it, and we see them strike it with a stone, or hammer it on some hard surface, in order to break it; they will also endeavour to pick a lock by means of a bit of stick; they scratch their fur, and hunt for insects, seizing them with address; whence we at once infer that their hands enjoy this sense. The skin of the palms, moreover, is naked, and the cushion of cellular tissue there is abundantly supplied with nerves. In some of, the lower American monkeys, however, the hands more resemble the paws of a squirrel, and perhaps do not possess a higher degree of the sense of touch, than they. This sense, in an imperfect measure, is enjoyed by most quadrupeds that freely use the fore-paws, as the squirrel and the beaver; and is seated in those organs. No one can see the dog scratch himself, or the cat dress her fur with her paws, without feeling that this is the case. Yet in the cat tribe, a far higher sense of touch-is placed...

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